Poetry Reading - Paul Breslin and Rachel Jamison Webster

"Acknowledging the limitations of words and voices, Breslin offers a reflection on the ineffable that is articulate, passionate, and deeply evocative." —Maggie Dietz

"If this collection is any proof, she is on a path of ever-deepening power, insight, and craft. We're blessed by these poems and by Rachel Webster's presence in our time." —Li-Young Lee on September

Poets Paul Breslin and Rachel Jamison Webster read from their new work


About "Between My Eye and the Light": “Hole torn in the language, / How shall we speak?” The very first lines of the first poem in Paul Breslin’s artful second collection of poetry, "Between My Eye and the Light", demand an answer, of both poet and reader, to the seemingly unspeakable tragedies of modern life. The rest of the collection forms a beautifully insistent exercise in the power of language to engage experiences both mundane and profound. Breslin queries far-flung corners of experience for answers, engaging childhood, his longtime home of Chicago, small moments of life, and profound encounters with artists such Rainer Maria Rilke and Derek Walcott. The poems even query the opening question. While pat answers elude us, poetry is a bulwark against cliche and cynicism, strengthening those who have the courage to question and explore the corners of experience.

About Paul Breslin: Paul Breslin's most recent books are "Between My Eye and the Light: Poems" (Northwestern University Press, 2014) and, with Rachel Ney, a translation with introduction andannotations of Aimé Césaire's "The Tragedy of King Christophe" (Northwestern University Press, 2015). His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in Agni, American Poetry Review, American Scholar, Callaloo, New Republic, New York Times Book Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Slate, Tikkun, TriQuarterly, Virginia Quarterly, and elsewhere. He is a Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University.

About "The Endless Unbegun": Part fable, part portal, "The Endless Unbegun" moves through prose and poetry, the past and the present, the mystical and the carnal, to tell a love story through many lifetimes. The twenty-first-century romance of Jon and Marisol opens into the sixth-century friendship of Radegunde and Fortunatus, which opens into poems that speak intimately of connection-with others, with the future we engender, and with the Earth that sustains us. Here, poetry meets myth in timeless writing that recognizes and renews the soul.

About Rachel Jamison Webster: Rachel Jamison Webster is author of the book of poetry "September" (Northwestern University Press 2013) and the cross-genre book of poetry and prose, "The Endless Unbegun" (Twelve Winters Press 2015). Rachel has won awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Poetry Center of Chicago and has published poems and essays in many journals and anthologies, including Tin House, Poetry, The Southern Review, The Paris Review, and "Labor Day: Birth Stories from Today's Best Women Writers" (FSG 2014). She directs the Creative Writing Program at Northwestern University.